Dream last night. I was at a party in Florida taking pics. I took a bunch of the people there and someone asked me how long it would be until they would see them and I told them a few days.
We were all sitting outside and the sun started setting. I pointed to it and told this guy I dated in high school to turn around and look, it was purple. He wouldn’t. Then someone else sat down and said the same thing and he looked and said he thought I was lying. I was upset he thought I was lying.
I got up to get a beer from inside the house. I went to the front deck and sat down and took some pics of the sunset and this baby crawled up and went to sleep on me. I took him to his parents.
I sat in a booth with DiNozzo from NCiS and he was waiting for this girl to get there. It was getting late and he was flirting with me and then she show up with an autographed baseball shaped coffee mug worth millions. He completely ignored me and focused on her.
I was sad that nobody liked me or looked forward to seeing me so I got in a pickup and drove to the airport (in Houston LOL) there was a weird labyrinth thing people were walking through and I couldn’t figure out how they got in. I climbed to the top where there was a very small platform with toy trains and Legos on it but I had to crawl instead of walk because it was so compact. I climbed down and then finally asked someone how to get in and these two nice guys started to tell me when a woman came running by us screaming that her scarf was yanked off her and got caught in the turning labyrinth platform and it was ruined. The airport people shut it down, got her scarf and turned it back on. The two guys led me through and then we sat down in movie theater chairs (kinda but like a huge couch) and they told me this is where we wait to vote. And we waited.
Uhm. Ok? LOL
I’m finding it difficult to put into words the events of this week. It never crossed my mind that what happened was related to fasting, but a good friend said something along the lines of: hey! Your fast is really working!! And that kinda rocked my world (that had already been rocked by this situation I’m going to talk about.)
I wrote a guest post for a conference I’m presenting at next month. The theme is The Mind and Spirit of the Artist. All of the guest posts have been discussing the mental health of the artist: depression, suicide, anxiety, etc… I felt a strong urge to share a story I’d never told anyone. Not Phil. Not my longest, dearest friend.
I kept it secret mostly because I was ashamed of my behavior. Partly because it was so long ago and why dig up bones buried long so long ago?
Two things converged and led to me telling the story. One is the piece I wrote for the Listen to Your Mother show–all about my mom. That piece really brought up some issues I hadn’t dealt with since her death. And that brought up memories, including this one I’d never talked about nor shared. Then, after reading a few of the other guest posts concerning The Mind and Spirit of the Artist, I knew I had to do it. I had to dig it out of the suitcase of baggage I carry and throw it out to the wind.
and it was scary.
The post went live on Monday morning, a week before I’d expected, so I was caught off guard when I saw the link shared on Facebook. I took a deep breath and prayed.
In fact, you ever run across one of those stories and your reaction is “wow, even them?” That was my reaction when Michelle Pendergrass sent me her guest blog.
That was from Maurice, long time friend, founder of the conference I’m doing the Visual Prayer workshop at, and like many others, someone who didn’t know my past.
I shared the link in the morning and evening, like I do with all my posts. At around ten in the evening, Maurice messaged me. “Did you see who commented? You might want to go take a look.”
shock might be a grand understatement.
Tuesday and Wednesday were a bit of a tornado of chat messages, phone calls, and texts. Most everyone wanted to know how it made me feel. For me, the bottom line is this: I offered up a piece of myself to God that I had been hiding from the rest of the world. He knew it was there. I was the one who hadn’t released it. A man I haven’t seen nor spoken to in nearly twenty years somehow found that story the same day I posted it and apologized.
To me that means God took that offering and transformed it. Just as He has time and time again.
I pray that it gives others the courage to unload their baggage. I’m a writer, God made me that way…I don’t think everyone is called to share in such a public forum, that would terrify some into an emotional paralysis. Telling stories is one of the outlets God gave me. I think He gives each of us what we need. Maybe you have a trusted friend or a mentor, a parent, a sibling. We are called to bear each other’s burdens. I pray that if you’re hiding something, you ask God to lead you to your outlet and offer it up. These secrets have no hold on us when we hand them over to Him. We give them power, we feed them with our fears and anxieties.
We all have secrets.
The one you’re thinking about right this second–that’s the one you need to hand over. Quit hoarding it.
In the first one, the government wooed people to join this project and promised all this wonderful stuff. When the project started though, the military’s mission was to starve us out. They cut off our food supply, but no one really knew. We just received smaller deliveries. I had noticed early on so I’d been rationing our family’s food.
In the second one, I had enlisted, or was thinking of enlisting. I was on a bus full of teenagers also enlisting. We were being driven to the ocean for a weekend drill. There were these condos that everyone had their phones out taking pictures of saying that’s where we’ll be for the weekend…oceanfront condos! They were talking about parties (and I knew it wouldn’t be they way they thought it would.) I looked back and said to myself, aloud, “Wow. They’re all just babies.”
It was night as we arrived and it was about to storm. Two women in civilian clothes told us to run into the cornfield across the street and everyone else listened. They were picking up these squares of sand (looked like carpet squares, but made out of sand) and they piled them on a flatbed semi along with rocks and driftwood. One lady asked why I wasn’t participating and I told her I was not about to run around a cornfield in the lightening to pick up sand and sticks in the dark. The sun was starting to come up by now and I walked away from her, pulled out my phone, and took pictures of the sunrise.
Wednesday during the day was another physically rough day for me. I didn’t expect to be down two weeks in a row on the same day. Not only was my body hurting, but my emotions were that of a very hormonal teenager :/ I was crying and angry over something so very stupid. I was tired and my head hurt and I cried more. I could not stop crying (and I’m just *not* a crier!)
Phil left early for work and I tried to make my attitude better. By evening when it was time to log off, I felt much better emotionally, but physically, I was still drained so I went to bed super early.
Thursday was a much better day. I woke feeling great and that lasted all day! I spent the majority of my day finishing word sketches while listening to sermons from Adrian Rogers and John Piper. My soul was full. I prayed for many people.
I didn’t log on to social media. I didn’t take a bite of meat. I did ok this week!!
I did however, feel heavy over a particular thing…
Yesterday was Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday which commemorates The Last Supper. I was thinking on Jesus’ words to his disciples:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying,“Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
I cannot eat bread.
I cannot drink wine.
And my heart was so heavy. So very heavy.
My body is in such a state of illness that the two symbolic acts of remembrance that Jesus gave, I cannot partake of. I thank God that we are in an age of grace and this reality will not hurt my relationship with Christ. Symbolically, though, the fact that my body will reject bread and wine weighs on me. the traditional unleavened wheat bread of communion will cause swift and severe allergic reaction, it will leave me sick for days on end. It will bring the healing to a screeching halt. The wine, I’ve just learned, is basically poison to my system for as long as my adrenal system is in failure.
Both the bread and wine are poison to me right now.
I can’t get over that.
It feels very much like the Easter story, the very gospel message: Jesus became sin. His body became the very thing it rejected. As my body is rejecting His symbols of ultimate love and sacrifice, I am in mourning for I want nothing more than to be able to share in His communion. But I can’t. Not if healing is to occur.
His body took on all of the ugliness of this world in order that He might heal us all and reconcile us to eternity and He mourned and grieved to the point of sweating blood. He wanted nothing more than to be able to be in communion with His Father. But he couldn’t. Not if healing was to occur.
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
My minuscule health problems do not compare to Christ’s sacrifice in even the slightest way. I know that. But I also have a deeper, a much deeper, understanding of healing right now–in this moment–when I cannot be in true communion with Jesus.
Last week was my first 24 hours of this 24 week fast. As I stated in my first post, things started off really rough.
So as I prepared to eat meatless and log off of social media, things started happening. First, I was in such an extreme state of physical paint, I woke crying and it just continued through the day. I read quite a lot about “retracing” and “healing crisis” where, when given the right nutrition, a body in adrenal failure/fatigue as mine is will release toxins that have built up. While painful, thankfully, it doesn’t normally last long. Then, a tiff with my husband. Then, twice within the span of a few hours, texts from two different people bringing up the same name. A person and situation God had me fast about last year. The same person that made many, many false accusations about me–I thought I was done with the person and situation until last year when he was hired on at the church we were attending and we chose to leave that congregation. But before I knew it was coming, God led me to fast for 6 weeks. Within days of the fast ending, I’d been thrown into this situation with this person coming back into my life. I felt the fast, while unknown to me, was to prepare me to fight this battle. The lessons were many. I recognized all of this as a spiritual attack of the enemy after receiving the second text. I prayed for strength, wisdom, knowledge, and discernment for the duration of the fast. And I unplugged.
I logged off and grabbed a book I’ve been wanting to read for years. I took a nice, hot Epsom salt bath and went to bed early. Thursday morning, I was still feeling very exhausted, drained, and my body was in pain. So I rested and tried to feed my body healing things: bone broth, extra protein, extra Vitamin C, and prayed that the healing of this adrenal failure was beginning.
I also found an amazing book I’d started to read before we moved. I’d began to read it and journal my progress through it in the same journal I’ve been using for my fasting journal. When I opened the journal to write about this new fast, I found (from the chapter one questions of this book) that I’d notated a verse that screamed out to me and was in direct correlation to my mosaic vision and *this* fast!
Your job is to pull up and tear down,
take apart and demolish,
And then start over,
building and planting.
When I saw that verse I knew I had to search for the book in my mess of unpacking and thank God I found it!
I met Michele at a conference a couple years ago. I don’t know if the book was in the works at that time or not. Reading it during this time of quiet, I also found there were a few chapters I read that spoke directly to a project a friend and I are involved in (that’s on the back burner for many reasons) but it seems that the words in these chapters have opened up a whole new chapter on our project that will require much prayer and study! (and you know the nerd in me loves to research!)
I still haven’t finished it book, and because I started it months ago, I’d really like to re-start it.
And then, I picked up my phone and touched the Facebook app and it opened and I answered some private messages and then I was like OHHHHH MAN!!! I’m on a social media fast! What did I just do?? (ugh. for real.) I asked forgiveness (and of course, He granted it.) and I hid my phone.
I started feeling better physically throughout the day. I relaxed, prayed, read, and tried to be faithful and obedient. I commented to Phil that I was doing far better with the abstaining from meat than I was staying off of social media!
Toward evening on Thursday, I needed to get dinner in the oven (a ham, for after the fast was over.) It was one of those bone-in, whole hams that are already cooked. I tasted it. Chewed up that scrumptious morsel. And promptly kicked myself because this was also supposed to be a meatless fast. Fail. again. (for real.) sigh.
So there’s my first 24 hours of my first week of the 24 week fast. I blew it, but I’m forgiven. And that is my lesson for this week. I suck but Jesus loves me anyway <3